Special thanks to Christina Relacion, who writes Scenes From the T and recently contributed several photos for the food blog’s Best Restaurants for Thanksgiving post. She and her husband put together this great guest post about Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s World Showcase!
Have you ever gone to a place numerous times and then found a hidden gem? Tokyo Dining inside the Japan pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase is one of those diamonds in the rough.
My husband and I are WDW veterans and hadn’t even ventured inside the walls of the pavilion until our most recent trip. But being huge sushi fans it amazed us that we had never had an experience at Tokyo Dining.
Judging by the low number of crowds in the pavilion, it seemed that others were also not as adventurous to wander past the iconic pagodas, koi ponds and faux Shinto shrine gate. But inside the pavilion’s massive structures are the most mouth-watering and delectable sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delights.
When we first entered the second-story restaurant in the Mitsukoshi-owned building, Cast Members dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos greeted us. They all graciously welcomed us into the restaurant making us feel like visitors to someone’s home instead of guests at a theme park eatery.
We were swiftly taken to a table overlooking the World Showcase lagoon. The view was spectacular! We mentally took note that this would be a fabulous spot to enjoy Illuminations in the future. A large patio wraps around the second-story giving you an enhanced view of the evening fireworks show.
Tokyo Dining’s menu is comparable to other sushi restaurants. It includes the typical California roll (avocado, cucumber and crab wrapped in seaweed paper and rice) and other favorites such as Spicy Tuna and Salmon rolls, and tempura (battered covered vegetables or meat). One of the first things we noticed were the prices were right in line with other sushi restaurants we have visited (prices begin around $4).
The menu has enough variety that we were each able to order something different, whether it was a selection of sushi and sashimi or pre-selected meals such as a Bento box.
My husband, Brett, enjoyed a Spicy Philadelphia Roll (a spicy tuna mixture with cream cheese, green onions, and sesame seed, $7.50 for a roll of 5-6 pieces) , yellowtail sashimi (fish with no rice, $9.95 for 5-6 pieces) and salmon roll (salmon wrapped in seaweed paper and rice, $6 for a roll of 5-6 pieces). The Spicy Philadelphia Roll was a pleasant surprise of hot and cool contrasting tastes. The cream cheese nicely followed the tang of the spicy tuna mixture. This roll is one we had never found at any other sushi restaurant.
On the other hand, I enjoyed a Bento box. A pre-selected concoction of beef teriyaki, seaweed salad, tuna sashimi and tempura vegetables served with Miso soup (a clear broth with tofu) and a Japanese-style side salad with ginger-infused dressing, all for $23.50. I was a bit apprehensive of the seaweed salad, but it was one of the best parts of the meal. It had a sweet flavor with a little crunch.
To end the meal, our server brought out a special First Anniversary dessert for us. The chocolate-ginger cake (normally $5.50) is comprised of layers of ginger-flavored cake with chocolate mousse and a dark chocolate glaze. It was the perfect ending to our meal.
Although some people are apprehensive about eating raw fish, there are many items on the menu for vegetarians and those who are picky eaters. A great rule of thumb: tempura-battered items are generally fried. You can also select sushi rolls that are made of items such as sweet potato, cucumber, asparagus and other tasty veggies. For sushi rookies, we recommend trying something such as tuna for your first raw experience due to its taste and texture.
The service and quality at Tokyo Dining is some of the best in WDW. Cast members go out of their way to make your experience pleasurable. If you decide to make this your first sushi experience, you won’t be disappointed.